Jim Collins@ASTD

Jim Collins opened the second day at the ASTD to a theatre packed audience talking about his new book – Great by Choice, Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite them All.

He spoke about the ten years of research conducted on companies for the book and how he and co-author, Morten T. Hansen dubbed organisations that thrived despite uncertainty and chaos, 10xers; and why when matched with identical companies with identical challenges, the 10Xers came out on top.

Jim CollinsCollins’ study showed that trying to lead in a fast world with fast decisions and fast actions is a good way to end up in disaster.   What the 10xers would do, would be to keep a very close eye on the storm and begin preparing for it. Rather than react instantly the 10exers would instead watch the web of events unfold before making very deliberate, rigorous decisions.

As with Good to Great, he advocates that the single most important leadership skill is the ability to pick the right people, with the right skill for the right job at the right time.

Collins also examined the role of luck, the part (if any) that it played and also how great leaders were able to get an ROI from bad luck.

Moving to Leadership Skills he stated that the X Factor for a great leader when aligned with the hierarchy of capabilities, was humility.

To increase success in business, Collins ended the session with Ten To-Do’s:

  1. Commit to building a pocket of greatness.
  2. Get the right people on the key seats.
  3. Double your questions to statement ratio.
  4. Confront the brutal facts – not opinions.
  5. Find your personal Hedgehog and focus on it; (Hedgehog = passion and drive).
  6. Be disciplined with your Hedgehog principle.
  7. Get a high return on your next luck event and decide who is your best luck.
  8. Have a Stop Doing List as well as a To Do List
  9. Creative pockets of quietude in order to ‘think’.
  10. Set personal visions aligned to lifetime core values that you can pass on to others.
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